Before & After: Jackie's Mudroom and DIY Bench

When outfitting her long and narrow mudroom, Jackie decided to make a custom bench to fit the space. For the DIY newbie, the project turned out to be a little trickier than she thought it would be, but she learned a lot along the way and ended up with an impressive simple, modern bench and a super-functional mudroom.Jackie started out by researching bench plans on the web — some really helpful websites for ideas were Pretty Handy Girl and Ana White. She planned the bench so that it would be low enough for kids to sit on easily, but not so low that it wouldn't be comfortable for adults. To determine the height and depth of the shoe compartments, she measured several pairs of men's shoes. Her project hit its first hiccup when she discovered that plywood isn't necessarily labeled according to its true size at the hardware store — read more about measuring plywood in our previous post. But, after re-configuring her numbers she worked out the correct measurements and had a plan in place.

Jackie's Tips & Instructions:

1. Map out the pieces on a standard 48"x96" sheet of plywood, using tape to label which piece is which.

2. Have the wood cut at a local hardware store, or cut it yourself. The machines for cutting wood at Lowe's or Home Depot aren't super-exact so be sure to double-check all measurements.

3. Sand all the edges of the plywood, which can be quite rough after being cut.

4. Pre-drill all holes so that plywood won't split.

5. Use iron-on plywood veneer for the edges (be sure to cut the veneer to the correct width).

6. Add felt to the legs to prevent scratching the floor.

She still hopes to make a seat cushion for the bench, but for now the bench is incredibly functional and, best of all, handmade. The supplies for the bench were about $100 plus about 30 hours of her time to plan and build it — possibly more than an Ikea equivalent, but about 100 times more valuable.

Thanks, Jackie!

Images: Jackie Zahora

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